The Mary Hamilton Papers : Letter from Lady Catherine Herries (née Foote) to Mary Hamilton

Herries (née Foote), Catherine

The Mary Hamilton Papers

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Letter from Lady Catherine Herries to Mary Hamilton. The letter is concerned with the Herrieses' decision to settle in Cheltenham rather than Bath, and with Hamilton's relations, the Palombis.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Lady Herries should have written to Hamilton some time ago and would have done so if it were not for the 'uncertainty' as to her plans for the autumn and winter. It now seems decided that they will probably stay in Cheltenham until early next year, as they have 'almost concluded a treaty' with a gentleman for his house there, which they have been in the process of completing for a number of weeks now. She knows that her change of mind will surprise Hamilton, especially after all she had previously said about staying in Bath, but the 'fact is' that neither the air nor the waters have been beneficial to her as they once were, whilst 'both here at least alleviate my great ills'. Herries continues on the differences in the cost of living in both places. In Bath 'one pays as much for a house for the season as for the year'; she notes this is one 'amongst our motives for giving up Bath as a residence', although they may visit for a few weeks in the winter. London is too much of an expense to consider as an option. She need not tell Hamilton that at the present time 'that this is indeed a sacrifice', as it will remove her from her friends. Herries emphasises that what she writes is only for Hamilton and her husband and that she speaks to her as she would only have a true friend. That she knows it is right that they move, and that whilst her 'mind may have sad moments it is at peace with itself & that is the first thing as you well know & practice every hour of your life'.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Possibly referring to the dispute with the Palombis and John Dickenson Senior (see HAM/1/17/234), Herries writes that Sir Robert has read the copies of the letters Hamilton had sent to her. Herries continues that she has a great interest in an 'affair so important & I grieve to say so vexatious to you & yours', The Solicitor General's opinion is 'very clear & satisfactory & I should hope induce these people in their so unworthy conduct with their near connection with you to desist from prosecuting a claim as unfounded as it is unnatural from a child to such a parent'. Hamilton's own letter to 'P' must 'touch their hearts if any grain of feeling remains [...] what is so cold as self interest & hearts governed by it'. Herries longs to hear what reply Hamilton will receive and hopes that it will put not only her own mind to rest but that of her father and sister-in-law.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The letter continues with general news on family and friends, including Georgiana and her new son (see HAM/1/17/234). Referring to Sir Robert Herries's brother's 'misfortune' [Charles Herries and the troubles with his bank], Herries has asked his half-sister, Miss Grace Herries, to live with her and she has now been with them for five weeks. [Grace had previously lived with Charles Herries and his wife.] Lady Catherine has a high regard for Grace and describes her as a 'sweet good young woman & is very comfortable to me as a Companion'.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Herries ends her letter with regret at not being able to meet with Hamilton's father and her sister-in-law [Sarah Dickenson].</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dated at Cheltenham.</p>

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